The Problem of Japan

  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 23-05-15 14:19


  • In 1920's Japan was a major military, economic and imperial power. 
  • Japan had secured Formosa from China in 1895, Korea from Russia in 1905 and all of the German colonies from China and the Pacific North of the Equator after 1914. 
  • Japan had been a constitunal monarch which had been governed by successful Liberal governments who believed in international co-operation and peaceful resolution of conflicts. 
  • However, they had been disappointed by the gains made in the First World War and favoured expansion. 
  • Turmoil in China and policies advocated by the Chinese government seized points along Manchuria which provided a reason for Japan to intervene. 
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Great Depression

  • The Depression hit Japan hard. 
  • This gives a powerful incentive for military adventures and the expansion of markets and raw materials. 
  • There was a rise in the radical nationalist, which were strong in the army, wanted Japan to pursue its own interest rather than being constricted to the West. 
  • Assasination of politicians who didn't believe in the nationalist cause was common. 
  • Japan had a growing populations of over 97 million. 
  • Already have highly developed industry, but needed some new markets. 
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  • September 1931- units in the Japanese army without the order of the government seized various points along Manchuria. 
  • Due to popular support in Japan to seize Manchuria, the government didn't condemn the action. 
  • China appealed to the League for help. 
  • For the Japanese, Manchuria had large deposit of coals, bauxite (aluminium), iron ore (low quality) and hydroeletric power. 
  • Good base for Japan to attack China. 
  • First challenge by a major power to the 'new international system'. 
  • Fears that China would invoke Article 16 of the Convenant of the League, however there had been many incidents in Manchuria between Japanese and Chinese soldiers. 
  • China didn't invoke Article 16 so League just appealed to China and Japan to refrain from actions which would worsen the situation. 
  • However the army took no heed to these warnings and by February 1932, Machuria had been occupied by Japan and the puppet state of Manchugo had been established. 
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British Response

  • Britain had major economic and political interest in the Far East-Hong Kong, Malaya, Shaghai and Singapore and military presecence. 
  • Britain concrened especially when Chinese soliders were attacked near Shanghai. 
  • But also had sympathy for Japan as there had been problems with Chinese Nationalist in the 1920's. China was in political chaos. Japan had brought prosperity to the part of Manchuria it controlled and could restore order to the rest of the region. and stop Bolshevik aggression. 
  • John Simon pushed for the Japanese case at the League Assembly in Geneva. 
  • didn't want to risk a war with Japan as British forces in the Far East were small and Singapore and Hong Kong was undefended. 
  • Economic Sanctions would not achieve anything. 
  • USA, Japan's biggest trade partner wouldn't support the League. 
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Lytton Comission

  • set up by the League of Nation. 
  • lead by Lord Lytoon. 
  • Spent months in Manchuria and China and final report in October 1932. 
  • Japanese grievance justify, but condemned their method. 
  • Said that Manchuria should have autonomous rule under Chinese Supervision. 
  • League accepted 42 to 1. That one being Japan. 
  • Japan walked out of the Conference and the League. 
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Anglo-Japanese Relations 1932-1937

  • Britain condemned their action. 
  • Britain commited to caution. 
  • If action, needed US support. 
  • Japan imperialism a threat to British interest in the Far East-India, Australia, New Zealand. 
  • But not a immediate threat as expansion in the North of China reduced risk to the expansion in other areas. 
  • Best policy for Britain was to accepted their rule. Instead, they resumed work on the Singapore base, abandoned the Ten-Year Rule, but didn't embark on rearmament,. 
  • Neville wanted to assume relations with Japan. Good way to protect their possesions and investment in the Far East and reduced the amount of money needed for spending. 
  • However, an Anglo Japanese Pact made little sense. There was little moral justification, damaged the League's prestige, damaged relations with China, the US and the USSR. 
  • Throughout the 1930's Japan's policies conflicted with Britain. Japan ended the naval agreement and began to build their navy. The Anti-Comitern Pact was signed in November 1936 with Germany and Italy. 
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